By Zoë Kessler, BA, B.Ed.
I’d had to travel out of town for a medical appointment which I’d dreaded, and decided to stop at one of my favorite restaurants for lunch on the way home.
The appointment went far better than I’d expected, so instead of driving home feeling sorry for myself I felt happy and celebratory. I began wishing I’d had company for lunch.
This got me thinking about why I hadn’t called ahead to make a lunch date with a friend. That’s when it struck me: for nearly half a century, I’d believed I was a natural-born loner. By the time the waitress brought my food, I’d started to deconstruct that belief.
Like the layers of an onion I peeled back each reason why I found myself sitting alone that day when I would have far preferred company.
Layer 1: ADHD Time-Management Rationalizing
Since it’s next to impossible to know if an appointment with a specialist will start on time, or how long it will take, it’s much easier to just go to the appointment and drive home rather than scheduling a lunch date when I’m not sure when I’ll be available.
Thinking this through, I realized that the friend I would have invited to join me would have been flexible as to when we met for lunch. Still, I’d chosen to eat alone. To read more, click here.
By Sandra Kiume
With so many apps on the market, it’s hard to know which are useful.
Many are designed by software developers instead of psychologists, without scientific testing. They range from beneficial, to harmless but useless, to bordering on fraudulent.
The apps selected for this list make no hucksterish claims and are based on established treatments. Progressive Muscle Relaxation, for example, has been used for a century and is likely just as effective in this new medium. Knowledge from Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavior Therapy enrich two apps on this list. Others mix solid information with ingenuity.
Don’t forget to download the free PsychCentral app to keep up with the latest mental health information.
Free app that teaches a deep breathing technique useful in fighting anxiety and stress. A simple interface uses biofeedback to monitor your breathing. Sounds cascade with the movements of your belly, in rhythms reminiscent of waves on a beach. Charts also let you know how you’re doing. A great tool when you need to slow down and breathe.
2. Operation Reach Out
Literally a lifesaving app, this free intervention tool helps people who are having suicidal thoughts to reassess their thinking and get help. Recommended by followers of @unsuicide, who report that this app has helped in suicidal crises. Developed by the military, but useful to all. Worth a download even if you’re not suicidal. You never know if you might need it.
3. eCBT Calm
Provides a set of tools to help you evaluate personal stress and anxiety, challenge distorted thoughts, and learn relaxation skills that have been scientifically validated in research on Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Lots of background and useful information along with step-by-step guides. Click here to read more.
Reviewed by John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on January 3, 2013
Investigators from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, examined bisexual men “on the down low,” a subgroup of bisexual men who live predominantly heterosexual lives and do not disclose their same-sex behavior, a group that has not been studied to date.
Specifically, the researchers studied 203 nongay-identified men in New York City, who self-reported being behaviorally bisexual and had not disclosed their same-sex behavior to their female partners.
Study findings, published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, reveal that men who live with a wife or girlfriend, who think of themselves as heterosexual, and who have a lower frequency of sex with men, were more likely to conceal their same-sex behavior.
Greater frequency of sex with women also correlated with greater concealment. Men with a household income of $30,000 or more per year reported greater concealment about their same-sex behavior than men with lower incomes.
“Our research provides information on the factors that might contribute to greater concealment among this group of behaviorally bisexual men,” said Eric Schrimshaw, Ph.D., lead author.
“Such information is critical to understanding which of these bisexual men may be at greatest risk for mental health problems.”
Nearly 38 percent of the men reported that they have not shared with anyone that they have sex with men. Only 41 percent reported that they had confided in a best friend or parent. To continue reading, click here.
4 Steps to Break Down Failure
Denise, a mother and wife, is seeking psychiatric care for insomnia and a mood disorder.
“Primary care doctors tend to be the frontline providers for people with mental illness so we need to put the same kind of educational effort into suicide risk assessment that we put into recognizing a heart attack,” said Dr. Adriana Foster, psychiatrist at the Medical College of Georgia at Georgia Health Sciences University. “Suicide risk assessment should be one of the ‘must haves.’”
Suicide is occurring earlier and more often in the United States than ever before. Rates are up 25 percent in the last decade to 12.4 per 100,000 individuals annually. It’s the second-leading cause of death for college students and third for all 15-24 year olds, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Twenty percent of high school students report having seriously considered suicide during the previous 12 months.
The MCG study of second-year medical students is helping determine if the opportunity to ask tough questions about suicide risk to a virtual (computer-simulated) patient can help real families avoid this tragedy.
“We hope this approach will help future practitioners deal with really difficult issues such as suicide, psychosis, anxiety and depression,” Foster said. Mood disorders, such as depression, are the most common mental health disorders coming to physician attention that carry a high risk of disability and suicide, she said. Click here to read more.
By Lylah M. Alphonse, Senior Editor, Yahoo! Shine | Healthy Living – Wed, 9 Jan, 2013 1:30 PM EST
We know that sugary sodas aren’t good for our bodies; now it turns out that they may not be good for our minds, either. A new study of more than 260,000 people has found a link between sweetened soft-drinks and depression — and diet sodas may be making matters worse.
Americans drink far more soda than people in other countries — as much as 170 liters per person per year (no wonder New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg banned super-sized servings of the stuff). But the impact of this study isn’t limited to the United States. “Sweetened beverages, coffee and tea are commonly consumed worldwide and have important physical-and may have important mental-health consequences,” study author Dr. Honglei Chen, an investigator at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, said in a statement.
To read more, click here.
And it just might help people who are in recovery, too.
The new definition is thoughtful, if not pithy:
“A process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.”
The definition was announced Thursday by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. It’s “a significant milestone in promoting greater public awareness and appreciation for the importance of recovery, and widespread support for the services that can make it a reality for millions of Americans,” said SAMHSA administrator Pamela S. Hyde.
Click here to read more.